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Multi Vehicle Routing

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Most vehicle routing tools can only create one route at a time, although this route can visit multiple destinations. A common request for Microsoft MapPoint was for “multi-vehicle routing”. This is when you find the best simultaneous routes for multiple vehicles and multiple destinations. Typically multi-vehicle routing solutions allow for some constraints, for example specific destinations should only be visited in specific time windows. An obvious application would be a delivery company making multiple deliveries to customers throughout a city. The company has a limited number of vehicles, each customer has a different delivery window, and teh company wishes to reduce driving costs.

Maptitude cannot do this ‘out of the box’, but a new add-in, the Maptitude Vehicle Routing Add-in adds this functionality to Caliper Maptitude 2019 and later. Full information and a free download can be found on the official Vehicle Routing Add-in page.

The add-in requires three types of data:

  • A point layer with all depot (start/end) locations.
  • A point layer with all customer (destination) locations, this also includes time window information.
  • A data table with all the available vehicles. This also includes their capacities and costs.

The resulting map and output will look something like this:

Sample results from the Maptitude Vehicle Routing Add-in (click for larger view)

In this example, three vehicle routes have been found (red, blue, green). The schedule is displayed in the Vehicle Routing Manager window.

As well as delivery time windows, customer/destination constraints can also include the service time required for the stop, the delivery demand (i.e. quantity of goods to deliver), and pickup demand (i.e. quantity of goods to pickup). Combined with vehicle size definitions, it is possible to schedule a vehicle that is both picking up and delivering goods. The service time can also be defined in terms of the quantity goods to be delivered/picked up (i.e. X minutes per unit).

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